Tag Archives: All-star game

The MLB All Star Game, a Kansas City Royals Saga

The rosters for the 2015 MLB All Star Game became official yesterday and the Royals have six players in the game. They could add one more with Mike Moustakas a part of the final five that’s voted on by the fans. While six (possibly seven) is the most players they’ve ever had in one year, it’s still not as many as Royals fans were hoping for.

Just three weeks ago Royals fans had high hopes of getting as many as eight starters alone into the game. Of course that’s when the negative stories and opinions began showing up in the national media. Many baseball people were talking about that the All Star Game should only be for those who deserve to be in the game. What they failed to talk about was who defines the term “deserving” for the game?

I got in many debates over what the term “deserving” is the last few weeks and everyone defined it differently. Some people said it’s all about offensive numbers. Some people said it was all about WAR and other sabermetric numbers. Others said career achievements were a factor, like Derek Jeter making it his last few years even though he was not a great player anymore. My idea of deserving is being a member of the Kansas City Royals. Not scientific and didn’t involve a bunch of research, but it included the only category that matters to me.

This would get me into a second debate about how Royals fans weren’t respecting the game of baseball. What I tried to explain to them was that I don’t care about baseball. I don’t sit at home and watch the Rays take on the Rockies. I didn’t watch a single inning of college baseball this season. I’m a Royals fan and I like watching Royals games. The only way I watch any other baseball games are if something historical is happening or it’s the playoffs. Even some of my closest friends, hi Kelly, still can’t understand how I can be such a diehard Royals fan yet not be a diehard baseball fan.

During these debates I tried to remind people that the real problem wasn’t with Royals fans; it was with the system the MLB had setup. Allowing fans to make up any email they want and vote thirty five times from that email with no verification was dumb. Royals’ fans didn’t do anything wrong or against the rules. We didn’t stuff the ballot in fraudulent terms the way the Cincinnati Reds did back in the 1950’s. People should have thanked us because the only way to change the system was to embarrass the MLB enough that they would have to change it.

Lucky for the people I debated, Major League Baseball fixed the voting and made it so only the four most deserving players won the vote. Salvador Perez is the best all-around catcher in the American League and I don’t think that’s even close. Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon may not have the most astounding offensive statistics, but they are two of the best all-around outfielders in the game. Alcedes Escobar is the in the same boat as Gordon & Cain, he may not be the best offensive shortstop in baseball but he’s one of the best all-around and deserving.

MLB admitted to removing over 60 million votes, so it’s not a big surprise that the media darlings won. Miguel Cabrera passed Eric Hosmer, Nelson Cruz passed Kendrys Morales and Jose Altuve passed Omar Infante. You won’t hear me saying that any of those four Royals are better than the players who passed them because they aren’t. But I will say it’s pretty fishy that as those player’s votes started rising the Royals votes became stagnant. This seems to be in contradiction to the feeling around Kansas City that Royals fans had not slowed down their voting one bit.

Even though the Royals lost some starters, their fans can still celebrate a victory as they still have six, soon to be seven, All Stars. Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera join the four starters on the team as arguably the best bullpen in baseball is well represented.  MLB decided to put Mike Moustakas into the final five votes and also give fans the ability to vote an unlimited amount of times. Royals’ fans will once again prove that we are up to the challenge and Moose will win that vote to give the Royals seven players. For this reason Royals fans can celebrate, even if our #VoteOmar imitative fell just a little short.

Who I feel for are those baseball purists who hate the fan voting for such a serious game. Those people who think that the All Star game means something and only the best of the best deserve to be there. Those who took to their blogs and their Twitter to rant and rave about the ignorant Royals fan ruining the game they love. Well now they can watch the game they love and see Jose Altuve instead of Omar Infante. So they won that little battle, one of the worst every day players in baseball will not be starting the ASG. But they lost the war because there won’t be any sweeping changes to the system next year. Fan voting will be a part of the 2016 ASG and there is a good chance we’ll be having this same argument all over again. Starting Infante could have stopped the madness and ended this discussion forever. Instead those short sighted people will have to return next year to fight this battle all over again. So next year I ask everyone remember this moment, and next year let’s all fix the system and #VoteRoyals.

Tribe Time Now Weekend Update #11: The Will to Win

In this episode of Tribe Time Now Weekend Update…

 

In order to get an outside perspective on the Indians offensive struggles, Joe (@BRBBlog) enlisted Cincinnati Reds super fan and founder of The Will to Win Sports, Will Hart (@TWTWSports) for the Weekend Update. The truth may hurt, but it needed to be said. Among the various topics covered in this very special episode were the Indians leader in TWTW (The Will to Win), why Carlos Santana doesn’t have it, what TWTW really means, why Omar Infante deserves to start in the All-Star game and why Corey Kluber is a loser. Finally, we get down to brass tacks about which is better, WAR or GRIT, a win or a loss and Applebees or Chilis.

Topics:

  • No Runs
  • Blame Carlos
  • TWTW
  • All-Stars
  • Kluber is a Loser
  • WAR

Links:

Don’t forget to join us Saturday, July 11th at Hoopples Riverbed Cafe for our first tweet up. Information can be found here.

Kansas City Royals Vs. Major League Baseball; The 2015 All-Star Game

I’m going to start this article off by saying I have been a Royals fan since I was born in 1982! My earliest memory is of my Dad jumping on the living room coffee table when Darryl Motley caught the final out of the 1985 World Series. My room had posters and plaques of my childhood hero George Brett. When I went to college at Mizzou, my friends and I had to wrap aluminum foil around our dining room so we could listen to the Royals game since it wasn’t on TV or local radio in Columbia. The first family trip I made with my wife and her daughter was to a Royals game. So no, I am not a bandwagon fan who just found the team in 2014!

Now that we are clear I’m not some “new money” Royals fan, let’s talk about the All Star game. In case you’ve been under a rock for the last week let me give you a quick update. The starters for the Major League Baseball All Star Game come from fan voting. It’s been that way since 1970 when the league started handing out paper ballots to fans at the ballpark. 2015 is the first year that MLB got rid of the paper ballots and made it so you can only vote online. Each person can vote up to 35 times from a single email address, but you can use as many email addresses as you like so there is no limit to how much many times one person can vote.

Enter the fans of the Kansas City Royals and Twitter. The Royals fan base has taken to Twitter like a baby whale takes to swimming. It’s been a perfect marriage that has yielded unbelievable support for the Kansas City Royals. I believe everyone remembers the successful Royals Twitter #BooCano campaign. Well this time around the Royals fans have gotten behind the All Star voting and have dominated it. As of right now the Royals hold seven of the nine starting spots in the American League, and the rest of baseball is not happy about it.

Players like Detroit Tigers pitcher David Price have taken to Twitter to whine that the system isn’t fair.  Reporters like St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist Joe Strauss and Sports Illustrated writer Cliff Corcoran have called out Royals fans for not voting the right way. How dare Royals fans vote Eric Hosmer over Miguel Cabrera and Mike Moustakas over Josh Donaldson. Boston radio host Lou Merloni said not one single Royals player deserved to be a starter in the game. Royals’ fans are embarrassing ourselves and the game by acting like children who vote for our favorite players over who is deserving. The All Star game means something too; home field advantage in the World Series goes to the winner.  Some have even called for Major League Baseball to step in and not allow what Royals fans are doing, to save the integrity of the All Star Game.

Royals’ fans have a lot to say to these men and anyone else who has a problem with what we are doing. I think I speak for all Royals fans when I first say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Royals aren’t stuffing the ballot box with fake ballots like the Reds did in 1957. We don’t have super computers voting millions of times every minute. What we have are thousands of determined fans who are using a system loophole to vote as many times as our fingers can click. That loophole is the fault of MLB by not requiring email verification when filling out a ballot. You can type in any email you can think of to qualify, my personal favorite so far has been voteomar@mlbsucks.com. This is a loophole any fan of any team in baseball could be using to their benefit. It’s not Royals fans fault if other team’s fans are either to lazy or too sophisticated to use it to their advantage. If they want someone other than Royals starting, than they should get voting.

At this point though it may be too late for those fans and players. This is because people won’t just leave Royals fans alone and just like Texas, you don’t mess with Royals fans, especially Royals Twitter. We are proud fans, we haven’t lived our lives in luxury with silver spoons in our mouths like St. Louis Cardinal fans. Our team hasn’t always had great players and a consistent winner year in and year out. We are going to maximize and enjoy our time of being good because we never know when it could all be gone. We appreciate what we have and will not take it for granted.

So now people want to call us out and call us idiots? Those are fighting words for Royal fans and we are happy to step outside and settle this. We would have been happy with five or six players and found it amusing when we had seven after this week’s results. But then people had to start writing columns and going to Twitter to make fun of us. So you know what, it’s on now! A local sports talk radio station 610 Sports Radio has lead the way with starting a voting campaign. To vote Royals, including our worst player Omar Infante (#VoteOmar), as well to vote for former Royals playing in the National League like Nori Aoki (#VoteNori). This successful campaign has seen hundreds of screen shots of maxed out votes sent to the radio station’s Twitter handle @610SportsKC. Don’t be surprised when both Omar and Nori are starting in next week’s results.

Yes baseball, we know that most second baseman in the American League are better than Omar Infante. We are well aware that there are other players with strong cases at being more deserving than Royals who are currently leading the voting. Guess what though, we don’t care! We aren’t voting with the integrity of the game or putting the best nine guys on the field. We aren’t MLB fans who happen to root for the Royals. We are Royals fans who follow the MLB just to see how the Royals stack up. It’s not rational or logical, it’s being a fanatic. It’s being loyal to our team and voting for the names on the front of the jerseys not the name on the back. It really is that simple.

Congratulations MLB, for the first time in my lifetime the All Star Game means something to me. The baseball world has decided to gang up and take on Kansas City. They want to call us names and try to bully us into backing down and doing things their way. Well guess what baseball, we aren’t going away and we aren’t slowing down. The more you come at us, the more we are going to fight back. I think I speak for Kansas City Royals fans when I steal a line from John Cena and tell the rest of the baseball world, you want some, come get some!

Tribe Time Now 17: Going Deep in the Draft

On this episode of the Tribe Time Now Podcast…

Joe Coblitz (@BRBBlog) of Burning River Baseball and Ryan Thompson ( @RThompAK13) of More Than A Fan: Cleveland for the 17th Tribe Time Now Podcast! Joe and Ryan talk about Jason Kipnis’ AL Player of the Month honors in May, The All-Star Game and it’s archaic voting process, the weirdness and economics of the MLB draft, and a short segment about the NBA Finals.

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Don’t forget to join us Saturday, July 11th at Hoopples Riverbed Cafe for our first tweet up. Information can be found here.

Around the Association: Dissecting the All-Star Teams

The NBA All-Star starters were announced last week and the league had us guessing on who would fill out the remainder of the roster in the game in Madison Square Garden. The Eastern Conference starters consist of: Kyle Lowry, John Wall, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Pau Gasol. Some of the ones that didn’t make the starting cut may have (are) been more deserving than the starters voted on by the fans.

East AS

Jimmy Butler of Chicago will most likely win most improved player of the year with his 20.4 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game improving from 13.1-4.9. Jimmy Butler is well-deserving of a starting position, but you know we have to cater to those of the high-powered organizations i.e. New York (Yes, I am aware that Chicago is a high-powered organization. Don’t get sassy). Kyrie Irving received a heap of an amount of harsh criticism at the beginning of the season, but used it as motivation and is now a big part of the red-hot Cavaliers.

Speaking about being red-hot, the Hawks were on the verge of breaking in a 20-game winning streak before the All-Star break. The phenomenal duo of Paul Millsap and Al Horford make a strong case for the best low-post one-two punch with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol as they have dominated the paint. Horford has been apart of an injury free season. Their much improved point guard Jeff Teague will join them.

You could make the case that the Western Conference bench could beat the starting five with players like Kevin Durant, James Harden, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook all considered as second teamers. The starting five is currently drawn out with Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, and Marc Gasol. Of course, now with Kobe’s injury one will take his place in the rotation and James Harden will probably be the favorite to do so after arguably being one of the league’s early MVP candidates.

West AS

Andy Furman of Fox Sports Radio (before Cousins got to take Kobe’s spot): Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.18.52 PM

Demarcus Cousins got the late invite after the Kobe injury news.

From a straight up unprofessional analytic standpoint, the West is freakin’ loaded. When the bench consists of Durant, Westbrook, and Paul (three of the league’s top ten players) the answer is clear to the question on which conference has the better players and might be the overall reason why this side of the league is in a constant battle every night in the standings.

The All-Star teams consist of the heralded stars of the game in its current state with Griffin, Wall, Curry and others, but what about the others that have had more of the eye-popping type seasons like Kyle Korver with a 74% shooting percentage and is currently on the case for a 50-50-90 stat line for the season? Damian Lillard is left off? Weird. Lillard has a stat line that is as impressive as any other stars in the league with 21.8 points per game, 6.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game. Lillard also stars for the league’s fourth best team.

When All-Star news breaks, critics come out and sign me up as one. Sure, I like to see the big names and superstars in the game every season, but when can we just admit that the spots (starters) don’t always go to the players having the best seasons or most deserving, but to the ones that are popular on 2k and have a big time following? But hey, who am I to judge?

Take the NHL All-Star Game… Please

Like most other professional sports the NHL’s All-Star game is seen as the ”mid-season break”, even though for the most part teams have played slightly more than 50% of their season’s games.

Few sports adapt well to an All-Star Game format and hockey is no exception. The NFL’s Pro-Bowl isn’t a whole lot of fun to watch and while the NBA and MLB do a better job of using a format that is both entertaining for fans as wells as reasonably resembling the way the game is actually played, All-Star breaks are generally just an excuse for the league to pat itself on the back, have an owners/governors/general managers meeting, review the rules, etc.

While the first official NHL All-Star game took place at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in October 1947 with the Toronto Maple Leafs being defeated by a team of all-stars 4-3, the basis for the game was set in February 1934. The 1934 game was a benefit for Toronto Maple Leafs player Ace Bailey, who had been badly hurt in a game earlier that season against the Boston Bruins, an injury that prevented Bailey from ever playing a competitive NHL game again. Players didn’t make much money in those days of course, so there was a movement to make sure that Bailey would be looked after following his playing days and the league held a benefit game for him. It was during that game that the Leafs announced that Bailey’s number six jersey would never be worn again by a Leaf player, thus we saw the first NHL jersey number retired. Starting in 1947 the game was played after the pre-season games, just before the regular season started. It pitted the previous season’s Stanley Cup Champions against an all-star team comprised of players from the other teams in the league. The game moved to a “mid-season” time frame for the 1966-67 season. From its inception through the 1967 game that meant the all-stars came from five other teams, as the league was in the midst of the era commonly known as the Original Six and in 1968, the last time we saw the defending Stanley Cup Champions play as one of the teams, the all-stars came from the other eleven teams in the league.

The format has been tweaked numerous times over the years, moving to an East vs. West format, with all players selected on an individual basis rather than the Stanley Cup Champions taking part as a team, to a Canada vs. the rest of the world format, to a North American born players vs European born players, to the NHL vs. the former Soviet Union etc. But the current format might be the most illogical one we have seen yet.

For the past few years, the game has resembled a fantasy event that we would more likely identify with a bunch of people from work getting together to have a friendly pool. The NHL appoints two captains and then provides each captain with two assistants/alternates. There is no rhyme or reason to which players are selected as captains, other than the league likes to make sure that one of the captains/alternate captains is with the team based in the host city. These six players effectively become the management team for their respective squads and select their teams from a pool of players voted in by fans and/or selected by the League. Each all-star squad comprises three goaltenders, six defensemen and twelve forwards, plus two rookies selected by the league.

This past Friday night in Columbus, site of this year’s game, we were subjected to the Fantasy Draft. The league had selected Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Columbus’ Nick Foligno as the two captains. Toews was “assisted” by Ryan Getzlaf and Rick Nash. Foligno was “assisted” by Patrick Kane and Drew Doughty and then the guys started playing General Manager. There are some basic rules around the drafting of goaltenders (must be selected by the 10th pick) and the defensemen (must be selected by the 15th pick).

Other than the Captains/assistants, eligible players sit in a back room, laughing and joking, playing with their cell phones and generally just hanging out while they wait for their “big moment”. Since someone has to be the last pick, to soften the blow of being the last pick, the league awards a new car to the last individual selected. As if any NHL player needs the league to provide a new car. Right from the start this year, Alex Ovechkin made it clear he wanted to be picked last and win the car. This was a Honda Accord being given away, not a Rolls Royce, Jaguar or Ferrari.

The only interesting part to the whole event was trying to determine the strategy of each team. Did the captains pick their friends/team-mates or did they try to structure a properly balanced team? Did Toews select a specific player from the pool solely in order to prevent the Foligno team from drafting a player who plays/used to play with someone already on Team Foligno?

Foligno won the toss and took a team mate (Ryan Johansen) and then Toews picked Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was ironic because at the first such draft, Kessel was the last guy picked and won the car. He is the same player today he was back then, so the pick was puzzling.

Throughout the hour and a half TV broadcast, the cameras kept going backstage to see the reactions of the still to be selected players and Ovechkin decided to try and add some humour to the process by holding up a hand written piece of paper saying that he wanted to be picked last because he really needed a car. Frankly, the Ovechkin behaviour was very tiresome and all he did was make himself look silly and make the whole concept of the car look really silly. (Note, we later learned that Ovechkin was actually doing this for a good cause, hoping to win a car that he could donate to a charitable organization in Washington, hence his lobbying. Once Honda learned of his reasoning, they gave him a car that he did donate to the Washington Ice Dogs hockey programme). Ovechkin was picked third last, thereby eliminating him from the car sweepstakes, but Honda then sprung a surprise by giving both of the last two picks a new car. Filip Forsberg and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were the recipients, but I suspect neither really needed a new car. Let’s hope they do the same thing Ovechkin did and donate the vehicles to a charity in their respective cities.

More foolishness was apparent as the two captains worked out a “trade”, with Toews trading Kessel to the Foligno team for Seguin. Ironic in that in real time these two were effectively traded for each other when the Bruins traded Kessel to Toronto for some draft picks, one of which turned out to be Seguin. Keep in mind that Kessel was Toews’ first pick and Foligno could have selected him first overall if he had really wanted him, so it left the viewers with the distinct impression that this was cooked up. For entertainment? Perhaps. For humour? Perhaps. Either way it made no sense to me, and likely many others.

Then the league added to the stupidity of the whole weekend by “suspending” Penguins star Sidney Crosby for the Penguins first game after the break because he chose not to attend the all-star game/festivities because of an injury. Only Crosby and the Penguins’ doctors know for sure if the injury is legitimate, but let’s assume it is. The league has now forced Crosby to miss a game which means something to his team rather than allowing him to miss a game that meant absolutely nothing. How does the NHL explain that one off? If I were Penguins’ management and Crosby was in fact legitimately injured, I would be making a lot of noise with the league about forcing me to play my star player in a meaningless game just so that he could be allowed to suit up two nights later for a game that counted in the standings.

Oh yes, the game ended 17-12 in favour of Toews’ team. More like a ball hockey game on the street, a table hockey game score or a half-time score in a college football game, but certainly not an NHL game. The majority of the game was played at a slow pace, with no defense and no hitting. Johansen was voted the game’s MVP, notwithstanding that John Tavares scored four goals. Home town bias perhaps? We will never know. In view of the number of goals we see in all-star games, why not do away with goaltenders and replace them with the “Score-O” boards we see on nets at intermission, where the players would have to earn a goal by finding the small hole(s), just large enough to let a puck through. Maybe we would see a 5-3 game. That might be enough to generate some additional fan interest.

Maybe it will help the growth of hockey in Columbus, still a new market as far as the NHL is concerned, but all in all, just a wasted weekend from the viewpoint of this writer. I can’t imagine why anyone would have paid top dollar for that kind of “entertainment”.

The game isn’t played in Olympic years due to scheduling issues. Another reason we like Olympic hockey so much. Frankly, an Edmonton-Buffalo game in the race for Connor McDavid would have been more interesting and when you look at the goals given up by those two teams, that alone tells you how much I thought of the “classic”.

Soccer may be the sport that is best suited to an all-star format and I am a big fan of the English Premier League (“EPL”) having grown up in England, but the EPL doesn’t have an all-star game and it seems to thrive quite well, so I am not sure that any pro league in North America needs to worry about losing its fan base if they scrapped all-star games. If the EPL doesn’t need it, why do the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB need it?

Get with it NHL, it is time to lose this “attraction” and free up a few days for regular season fixtures and avoid the playing of hockey in late June.

Baseball’s Mid-Summer Classic: the Best, yet still Flawed

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game remains a spectacle for the fans’ enjoyment despite its better days having long ago disappeared over the horizon. However, it is still by far the best all-star competition of the four major sports.
Think about it, the NBA generates more buzz for mediocre players’ interpretations on past dunk contest champions’ best work than they ever do for the actual game. The NHL opens up a shooting gallery as both teams score 15 easily. The NFL’s Pro Bowl is, and always will be, the biggest joke of all, something I have not even watched a single down of in my twenty years of life and fandom. The many problems with these leagues’ all-star games are the topics of a completely different column that I will certainly write at some point, so I’ll stop there.
A brief list of minor discrepancies keeps MLB’s All-Star Game from perfection. My main complaint is the same as most fans’.
The Mid-Summer Classic is meant to be a display of the greatness that the game has to offer. It is an exhibition. The outcome should not determine which league has home field advantage in the coming autumn’s World Series.
Shockingly, in the past ten years only twice has the team with the worse regular season record enjoyed home field advantage in the World Series. Both of those teams, the 2004 Red Sox and the 2011 Cardinals, won it all by the way.
Just because it hasn’t caused much of a problem recently doesn’t mean that the method is appropriate. Whichever team has the better record of the two meeting the Series should have four games at home during it. It’s as simple as that. Instead we have to pretend that the All-Star Game means something.
Unfortunately, fan balloting and the necessity to field a somewhat functional lineup while representing each team, robs us of getting to see truly the best players in baseball all in one game. The managers for each league have to make final roster decisions based upon what a guy can offer for one night as opposed to what he has done so far this year as it should be.
Now that the votes for each league’s final spot have been calculated and the injury replacements have been announced we have a pair of rosters to fully dissect. I’m not one for bias discussions on who doesn’t belong there and who got snubbed because it solves nothing. There is however a unique occurrence this season that needs to be addressed.
Derek Jeter is the best player we’ve had the privilege of watching in this PED-infested generation of baseball. Look at the numbers because they speak for themselves, I don’t need to.
This will be his fourteenth All-Star Game appearance in his nineteenth and final season. The five times he missed out on the festivities were all for good reason, ‘95-’97 (first three seasons); 2003 (injured on Opening Day and missed 6 weeks); 2005 (victim of overcrowded American League shortstop position); and 2013 (played just 17 games).
That being said, he’s only been voted onto this year’s squad because he announced his retirement before the season started. He doesn’t belong there, but the entire game will be about him. It is likely that Fox’s presentation of the game will turn into a celebration of his illustrious career even though his performance in 2014 suggests he’s hardly a starter let alone an all-star.
It will be emotional as it was last year when Mariano Rivera pitched in his final All-Star Game. It will be cool to again watch baseball say goodbye to one of the best ever.
I will enjoy it and hate it simultaneously and hope these farewell tours stop here. They’ve become, as have so many other things, a distraction from what should be celebrated during the Mid-Summer Classic: baseball.

Who Are the NBA's Real All-Stars?

It is that time of the year. A lull in professional sports. We have already gone a week without professional football and we still have another week to go. Baseball has yet to get rolling in spring training. Hockey, to me, is still as irrelevant as it was during the lockout. And the NBA, well I have grown to dislike it because of the divas throughout the league. I am still a strong Cavaliers fan, though. I still have a jersey on my wall and a flag folded away in a cupboard somewhere–typical Cleveland fan.

So with the lack of action on pro sports I took some time to see if the NBA fans got the All-Star voting correct this year or if it was a popularity contest as every year. The results I compiled were quite interesting.

2013 Centers – East: None. West: Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers. My 2013 starters turned out to be Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks and Howard for the West. Their back ups would be Joakim Noah for the East and DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings.

2013 Power Forwards – East: Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics. West: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers. My starters came out as Chris Bosh for the East with Boris Diaw as his reserve. And for the West it was Mr. Fundamental himself, Tim Duncan being backed up by Serge Ibaka.

2013 Small Forwards – East: Lebron James, Miami Heat and Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks. West: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. This one is a no brainer when it comes to starters. Even my results showed James and Durant as the obvious starters for their respective conferences. However, their substitutes were some more interesting names. Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks would be behind James and Kenneth Faried would come in for Durant.

2013 Shooting Guards – East: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat. West: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers. Based on the way I did my research there were not many candidates in the shooting guard to choose from. I was lucky that I found two of each from both conferences. For the East, Wade would still be the starter and Andre Iguodala would be his reserve. Bryant would be the substitute for James Harden in the West.

2013 Point Guards – East: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics. West: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers. Both mine and the real starting lineups will inevitably change due to Rondo’s season-ending ACL tear, but he would not have been starting for my All-Star game either way. Brandon Jennings would be the East’s starter while Kemba Walker would be taking Rondo’s spot as Jennings’ sub. On the West’s side, Paul would start on the bench while Russell Westbrook took the court.

Now I am sure that with some of the names I mentioned you find yourself wondering, “how did he come to the conclusion that he is an All-Star?” Well, I based my lineups purely off of statistics. I looked at the top twenty-five players from each of the six major categories (points, assists, rebounds, field goal percentage, blocks, and steals). From their I gave players points. Dwight Howard leads the league in rebounds so he received twenty-five points. Zach Randolph is second so he received twenty-four…and so on and so on. If any player appeared on more than one list he got an extra three points for each extra list. An All-Star should be well-rounded right? A player like LeBron James, who is on four of those lists received an extra nine points for being on three extra lists. I then tallied all of those points up, separated the players by position and conference, grabbed a beer, and then started writing this post. I figured my results would be somewhat similar but I knew there would be some glaring differences. Kevin Garnett was nowhere near the top for power forwards in any categories. Brandon Jennings, who is not even an All-Star is averaging 18.6 points per game, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, almost 2 steals per game. Jrue Holiday is having a great for Philadelphia but I think Jennings may deserve that spot a little more.

All in all I think the lineups are acceptable this year with exception of Garnett as an All-Star and Kobe as a starter. The votes should be based on this half of THIS season, not for their previous years.

How should All-Star teams be selected? Coaches? Stats? Fans? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.

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Tony LaRussa's "Integrity"

Now that the MLB has completed its All-Star game (“This time it counts”, in case you have forgotten), I’d like to revisit the roster selection process for the National League.  You may recall that Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker had some less than kind words for National League skipper Tony LaRussa.  He stated that he believed that Johnny Cueto’s and Brandon Phillips’ exclusion was payback from their inclusion in the infamous brawl back in 2010.  Whether that was LaRussa’s intent or not doesn’t matter, he says it didn’t come in to play.  I actually hope it did.  I think it’s perfectly within his rights to teach Cueto and Phillips the hard lesson that actions have consequences.  If LaRussa had left it at that, everything would have been alright.  He earned the right to make that decision when the Cardinals won the National League pennant last season.  If Dusty wanted to make the call, then perhaps the Reds should have played better ball last season.

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